Attorneys for the defense and prosecution of Michael Slager met with South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, to discuss the upcoming retrial of the former police officer in the shooting death of Walter Scott.
Slager’s defense attorney, Andy Savage, requested the court change the scheduled March 1, 2017, retrial date to a later time due to the unavailability of expert witnesses in the case for that date. Ninth Circuit Court Solicitor Scarlett Wilson opposed postponing the retrial, but in the end, Newman set a new date of August 28, 2017, for the former police officer’s retrial on the charge of murder in the on-duty shooting death of unarmed motorist Walter Scott in April 2015.
In addition to Savage’s request, Newman took into consideration the upcoming federal trial of the defendant, scheduled for May 1, 2017, on charges of civil rights violations the former police officer may have committed in the act of shooting Walter Scott. Newman determined that delaying Slager’s state retrial would allow the federal trial to go forward without conflict on the part of the defense attorneys.
There is some uncertainty on the part of Wilson that the federal trial will go forward as scheduled due to a new presidential administration. Newman said that if the federal government does not follow through on the civil rights violation trial for Slager, he will revisit the state’s schedule for the criminal retrial with an attempt to find an earlier date.
Both Savage and Wilson have indicated that the retrial of Michael Slager will take less time than the original trial that took place in November 2016 and resulted in a hung jury when jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision, torn between the charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter, including one juror who notified the judge that s/he would be unable to render a guilty verdict against Slager on either charge.
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